Tag Archives: baking

Cookies for Santa

Thank you to Rebekah for her guest post below. Follow Rebekah’s adventures at Girl Gets SoCal.

When my brother D was little, he used to sleep under the Christmas tree to wait for Santa. He would fall asleep under the boughs of the tree looking up at the lights and the ornaments, breathing in the heady pine scent.

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I, being the older and wiser sister, would sleep in my own bed under warm flannel since I knew the whole Santa game thankyouverymuch. D never got to see Santa, but the cookies he left out were always eaten and remnants from the carrots set out for the reindeer could be found on the front porch.

This year, D made homemade Oreos to set next to the tree. Christmas morning there were presents under the tree and the milk and cookies left for Santa were almost gone.

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Lucky for us, D shared some of his cookies before we went to bed on Christmas Eve. I am lucky to have a brother that knows how to share his love of Christmas is such a delicious way.

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Filed under baking, Christmas, Family

Pizza Amore

Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.

                                                                                          ~Ann Quindlan

You are invited to join us at our kitchen table for

great conversations and ideas.

Favorite recipes will be shared, too.

toppings 6 FAV

Today, David makes his favorite crust recipe for Pizza Amore! at Rose Cottage Cooks.

Rose Cottage Cooks is a collaborative journal

where we are sharing what’s cooking with friends and family.

Pizza on a plate 2 FAV

Won’t you join the discussion at our kitchen table at Rose Cottage Cooks?

You are invited for a Sunday pizza supper!

You may also enjoy:

 Summer Diva {the heirloom tomato

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Filed under baking, Cooking

Market Fresh Treasures

It’s difficult to think

anything but pleasant thoughts

when eating a homegrown tomato!

                                              ~Lewis Grizzard

saturday morning ritual

The first glimmering rays of the early morning sun filter through the pines and ancient maples — the sun is just rising over the river valley. The cool morning mist lingers a bit, but is slowly lifting across the meadow below Rose Cottage. I look out a bedroom window. A doe and her offspring — a fawn still with mottled spots — are laying in the dewy meadow grass under the cedar trees. The chickadees, gold finches and cardinals are eating breakfast seeds at the feeders outside the kitchen windows. Boisterous Bob The Rooster proclaims to the world that it is another new day, and “it’s the early bird that catches the worm — so get out of bed you sleepy head!”

saturday morning

In the summertime, it is off to the farmers market in the capitol city — truly a highlight of each Saturday. My Favorite Son, recovering at home following his surgery, joins me on the early morning market adventure to gather the freshest, local produce. How sweet it is! Soon the sights of covered market stalls come into view.

market vendor 1FAV

market vendor 2 FAV

The market growers stalls are filled with a plethera of seasonal produce — brillant green romano beans, purple and yellow onions, perfect green peppers, aubergine and soft pink eggplant, lush red raspberries, golden corn with the silk still fresh and tender, heirloom Italian zucchini, yellow and green pattypan squash, crisp English cuccumbers . . . the fragrance of fresh produce is envigorating and fills the early morning air. Superb aromatherapy.

heirloom tomato and blueberries FAV

tomatoes and cauliflower

 apples and pear 2 FAV

sweet mama 2

corn

eggplant 2

Friendly “good mornings’” are exchanged as the market bustles with liveliness. The rays of the early morning sun brings some of the vegetable offerings to center stage — as if under spotlights. Ah, the tomatoes!

Cauliflower and tomotoes with sunlight FAV

Peppers and Beans FAV

The aroma of freshly-brewed peace coffee calls to the Favorite Son. The steamy dark roast brew fills his mug . . . a sip . . . a smile . . . and his eyes are opened! Now, we can continue on to visit some of our favorite market growers.

coffee FAV

a few favorites

Mark Christopher brings outstanding produce and product from the Maple Leaf Orchard to the market each Saturday. In March, Mark and Sue produce gorgeous amber maple syrup in their sugarbush when the sap starts to flow in their maples just across the river. “I have the dark, full-bodied syrup this morning — your favorite,” Mark says. A half-gallon goes into the market basket . . . Who can resist?

Mark and Maple Syrup FAV

 

Maple Syrup FAV 2

Mark reminds us it will be a good late afternoon for picking pie (sour) cherries at his orchard across the river. I ask, “will your new cherry pitter from Michigan’s Upper Pennisula be working?” Mark replies wholeheartedly and is confident we will shave hours off of the hand-pitting alternative. I am eager for the cherry picking later today, and cherry jam and jelly making tomorrow.

Cheeries and Honey FAV

Sour Cheeries Marks FAV

aromatherapy

Next stop is at Dan and Meryl’s herbs. Rub and sniff the distinctive fragrance of thyme, rosemary and lemon verbena. The yellow and red flowering maples are in this week. Sniff some more aromatic herbs.

red flowering maple FAV

yellow flowering maple FAV

Meryl learns that the Favorite Son wants to plant another pot of herbs for his house. She excitedly asks, “how do you want to use them?” A few quick recipes are exchanged between the two. Dan shows me a few treasured culinary lavender he brought in for us from last week’s request. Rub and sniff some more. . .  sweet memories of dream trip to France return . Several of the lavender are placed in my market basket. The Favorite Son proudly carries his tray of herbs to the car.

Thyme 1 FAV

more favorites 

We visit Otis Family Farms market stall down the same aisle for a few fresh cuts of pasture-feed meats. This stall is also one of the highlights with the flavored honey sticks — especially for those with a sweet tooth. Usually, a long line forms.

Otis and Maple Leaf Signs

eggs

honey sticks

bountiful gifts

More visits to other favorite vendors. The produce is gorgeous and bountiful . . . I am a little girl in a candy store! What would you like to take home in your market basket?

beets FAV

Cabbabe FAV

 bok choy FAV

eggplant FAV

garlic and tomatoes FAV

green onions FAV

onions red FAV

pickle cukes FAV

potatoes FAV

raspberries FAV

jeweled bouquets

The crowds start to arrive. We are finished with our weekly gathering of fresh treasures. One last item on the list — a bouquet of golden jewels. Aren’t they spectacular? Which bouquet shall we take home? I think all of them would be quite lovely, don’t you?

flowers and shoppers FAV

colorful bouquet2 FAV 2

colorful bouquet FAV 1

dahlia FAV 1

lilies FAV2

sunflowers

Flowers always make people better,

happier, and more helpful; they are

sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.

                                                         ~Luther Burbank

Rose Cottage Cooks! is coming soon

We are creating some fabulous cooking adventures at Rose Cottage Gardens and Farm using mainly locally produced and seasonal foods. Watch for our first batches of “Cheery Cherry Jam” from cherries picked this afternoon at Maple Leaf Orchard. The Favorite Son will be sharing his fabulous home made pizza and other baked goods.

Hope you will like some of these tasty treats . . .and will share your recipes, joy of cooking and the fun in sharing meals with others, too! Stop by in a few days for a link to the new site.

What is your favorite recipe using market or garden fresh produce? 

We would be delighted if you shared a recipe in the comments section below.

Post note: Special thanks to the Favorite Son for all the photography at the market this morning!

Be sure to visit A Southern Daydreamer for more outdoor musings.

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

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Filed under Cooking, farmers markets, Gardening, preserving

Bon Appetit!

Find something you are passionate about and

keep tremendously interested in it.

                                                   ~ Julia Child 

(Note: There are many spectacular images capturing the amazing beauty of Chateau Dumas and surrounding villages. Please allow time for your computer to load the images so that you don’t miss any. This is the seventh in the series on a millinery masterclass held in southwest France. Won’t you follow along?)

artisan samplings

In the true Mediterrean style, dining al fresco prevails at Chateau Dumas. The polished terra cotta terrace just off the chateau’s dining room is perfect foil for leisurely watching the interplay of summer light and color as the sun quietly sets over the tapestry of the French countryside. The simplicity of the centuries-old terrace allows the dramatic beauty of this Mediterrean region to take center stage.

Terrace view

Dinner on the Terrace 2

In celebration of some of southwest France’s finest offerings, sommelier Laurent Zimmerman presents a cheese, bread and wine tasting. Ah, what can be more lovely than the bread and the freshest cheeses of the region?  The warm bread aroma is amazing.

Laurent welcomes the Chateau’s guests with warm French enthusiasm, and tells of the sampling process for the evening. The goat cheese samples are served with the white wine. The red wine is accompanied by the cheese from cow’s milk. The charming Chatelaine de Dumas effortlessly provides interpretation for those of us less fluent in French. I am quite grateful.

Laurent 2

Laurent 3

Laurent

The tasting is quite an International event amongst our tiny band of travelers. Laurent’s stories are translated from French to English by the adept Chatelaine Lizzie. Then, a generous traveler translates into Spanish, and another traveler translates into German. A five nation tasting–quite amazing! Laurent pauses and listens attentively… to English … to Spanish … to German. Travelers ask questions. The questions are translated from Spanish or German to English — then to French. Laurent responds in French . . . Yes! it is rather lively and colorful!

The regional goat cheeses are featured first. Each of the hand-crafted artisan cheeses are to be eaten in a specific order ranging from mild to more pungent. The delicious cheese variety samples are quite unique in flavor and vary in texture from one another.  Most of the cheese varieties have edible rinds, including one excellent cheese with an splendid ash rind. In particular, the Chevre du Quercy is an outstanding local artisan variety, and is a favorite of our merry band of travelers.

Laurent and Goat Cheese Sample

 Next, stories about the cheeses made from cow’s milk are presented. Some of the cheeses are both beloved and reviled for their earthy aroma. They are all outstanding. Mais, j’adore le fromage.

More cheese

Goat Cheese FAV 2

The evening’s sampling includes tastes of three speciality breads of the region–multi-grain, walnut and whole grain fig. While all are delicious, the fig bread is amazing and is made from fresh figs gathered locally. I consider how to slip a few loaves of the fig bread into my luggage for the return trip–the bread is spectacular! Alas, maybe some for breakfast tomorrow? A quest for a fig bread recipe lies ahead. Ideas?

Fig Bread FAV

 Goat Cheese and Bread Sample

sweet endings

It is nearly 9:00 p.m. — time for the evening meal following a brief intermezzo from the superb tastings on this picturesque summer eve. A plethora of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are offered for the evening meal. Mediterrean cooking is quite wonderful — I feel so healthy.  The finale of tonight’s meal is an amazing fruit creation.

The adorable and incredibly talented MamaJo creates feasts befitting of kings and queens! This well-versed and former British university professor, prepares daily masterpieces at Chateau Dumas. Her beautiful desserts are steller using local fresh fruits. I consider whether or not she may enjoy an eager apprentice?!

MamaJo

assorted desserts

Pear gateau

rustic apricot pie

What gorgeous edible “gifts” the talented  MammaJo serves-up  to guests at Chateau Dumas each day! The little packages are almost too pretty to eat tonight. I decide to look for one of her cookbooks she authored. . .

Apple bundle dessert

everything

A beautiful evening shared with travelers from around the world is ending. As I begin to slumber, the simple — yet lovely — artwork on a wine bottle from the tastings comes to mind. It is rather intriguing. It simply says, tout ce qu’il faut” — all that is needed or necessary.

all that is needed wine FAV

My thoughts in the wee morning hours become quite contemplative . . . there is so much wisdom in the lovely little art adhered to the side of  the dark brown glass. I am so thankful for all that I have been given — it is all I need. My eyes are heavy. It is futile to resist the soothing effects of French lavender fragrances finding their way to my second story windows. Bon soir et rêves doux! [Good night and sweet dreams!]

The final lovely sights of  a once-in-lifetime dream trip to France are just around the corner.

à bientôt mes amis!

Won’t you journey with me awhile on this amazing trip in a gorgeous countryside chateau? Other adventures are at: 

 French Dreams at Chateau Dumas.

 Inspiring Beauty at Chateau Dumas.

 Estivales du Chapeau {hat festival in France

 Creativity at Chateau Dumas

Heavenly French Lavender

Fabulous French Hat

See what other’s are “hooked on” at Julia’s Hooked on Houses, and find out more about Melissa’s inspiring beauty at The Inspired Home.

Read about how everyone is enjoying the outdoors at A Southern Daydreamer.

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Filed under baking, Cooking, France, Travel

Vintage Artisan Bread Bags {les sacs de pain

If thou tastest a crust of bread,

thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.

                                                               ~Robert Browning

tasteful simplicity

Frequently, the most satisfying meal features a simple loaf of freshly-baked bread.  What says “welcome home” or “I am so glad you are here for dinner” more than the heart-warming aroma of  bread that greets your family and friends at the door? Sharing a freshly-baked loaf of artisan bread is a wonderful and honorable hostess gift, too.

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what is vintage is fresh

It is the end of a very busy day and I stop at a  favorite shop to visit with my dear friend. Knowing it was a long day, Mi graciously invites My Best Sweetie and me to her home for a serendipitous meal. A quick call home and it is all arranged. The aroma of a home-cooked dinner and fresh-baked bread warmly welcomes us at the door just 20 minutes later.

After a lovely dinner, our creative spirits are refreshed and we start designing in Mi’s well-stocked studio. Her studio is bursting with amazing inspiration–including one of my favorites–vintage millinery and trims. The guys discuss the latest projects in the woodworking shop–they are deep in conversation. 

 BreadBag1_stripe_drawstrings_0509

Mi has a new collection of vintage linens. We start brainstorming projects with the new finds. One thing leads to another…soon the idea of creating bread bags for storing artisan breads or for gift-giving a warm loaf of bread to a friend emerges–les sacs de pain. I think we are inspired by Bob’s artisan bread served during dinner!

BreadBag2_goldturquoise_0509

We select several embroidered and vintage printed linens. I scour the fabulous old-fashioned wood and glass front drawers in a tall, wood cupboard that was re-claimed from a shop in England. The well-organized drawers are filled with millinery from around the world. Dreamy…

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Our imagainations are bubbling over with an endless succession of ideas! Soon, two les sacs de pain are created–one is perfect for a baguette and the other a boule loaf. The designs for several other bread bags are laid out ready for assembly on another day. I am reminded of the five-word acceptance speech at the recent Webby Awards given by Biz Stone:  “Creativity is a renewable resource.” Are spirits are renewed with all of our creativity. Do you have those moments when the more you create the more you are inspired?

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fresh is best

When I bake bread, I hear Mom’s voice saying, “It is only good when it is fresh!” This saying is particulary relevant for artisan breads–crusty breads are best eaten fresh–usually within a day. Breads baked at Rose Cottage usually don’t last beyond 24 hours!

Often, we bake several loaves of bread at one time so that we can share with others. It gives us great joy to bring a still-warm crusty loaf as a “thank you” for dinner hosts or to share a loaf with a neighbor or two. What fun it will be to share some fresh artisan bread with another in one of the vintage les sacs de pain like the ones Mi and I made!

No matter how large or small it is, sharing is one way that helps to create a beautiful life at Rose Cottage. How do you create a beautiful life? For more ideas about creating a beautiful life, visit The Inspired Room.

Don’t miss all the fun! Julia is hosting a hooked on Fridays post party — visit Hooked on Houses.

BreadBag6_millinery_0509

(Thanks, Mi, for sharing the photos!)
What is your favorite kind of bread that makes you feel like you are tasting “all the stars?”

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Filed under baking, Cooking, Homekeeping, Sewing

Home Alone

“Haven’t you ever wondered what I did while alone?”

Mom or Dad: do you have a son or daughter that you sent off to travel the far corners of the earth or to pursue studies at college? If so, you know what it is like to wonder {read: worry!} what your son or daughter is doing and if he or she is OK. Each day, you pray your “child” is safe, makes good decisions and remembers all your pearls of wisdom! Right?!

Today, I receive an email from my very best boy–a senior at college living away from home. The subject line says: “Haven’t you ever wondered what I did while alone?” Immediately, my heart starts to palpitate. I pause for a second or two before opening the email. I finally find out one thing that my very best boy does after his studies are done! This is what he writes:

“Now you know,
 
This is what happens when I am left alone…”
Rolling out homemade cinnamon roll dough

Rolling out made-from-scratch cinnamon roll dough

 

Cutting dough into rolls

Cutting dough into rolls

 

Cinnamon rolls on cooling racks

Cinnamon rolls on cooling racks

 

"It is only good when it is fresh!"

"It is only good when it is fresh!"

 

A perfectfully executed work of art!

A perfectfully executed work of art!

 So what am I worried about?!

st-patricks-day-woman-rose-pc3

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A is for {Grandmother’s} Amazing Aprons

remember when…

grandmothers wore aprons throughout the day… especially when they were in the kitchen? My grandmothers never kneaded homemade bread or rolled out a pie crust without first securing the apron strings of a bib or half-apron. Some of my most treasured keepsakes are Grandmother’s aprons. There is something special–almost magical–about Grandmother’s aprons! The aprons transform me back in time and bring back sweet memories…

The Kitchen Workshorses

The Kitchen Workhorses

As they were for our grandmothers, aprons are a great “tool” to help with multi-tasking that we often do throughout the day. They are true “workhorses.” An apron’s large pockets are perfect hideaways for an amazing array of necessities and are holders of collections of all sorts gathered during the day: a freshly-pressed linen hankie to wipe a tear (yes, I still iron my hankies!), a tube of lip color (to apply as needed–you just never know!), beans freshly picked from the kitchen garden, rose petals deadheaded on a quick garden walk-through, green and brown eggs gathered from le palais de poulet, a treasured postcard from someone special or even the cell phone.

 What kind of things collect in your apron pockets?

a little more looking back

My grandmothers had numerous aprons for different purposes. All were handmade–often from a gingham or cotton floral print. Sometimes, a feedsack cotton or “repurposed” curtain was given new life as an apron! (Grandmothers were very resourceful!) Among my favorite aprons are those with a simple cross-stitched pattern in the small checks on a gingham fabric. As a young girl, I often had an apron that was a miniature version of Grandmother’s gingham apron. How I loved to wear aprons to be just like Grandmother.

Vintage Aprons

Vintage Aprons

Some of Grandmother’s aprons were decorative to coordinate with their dresses when they hosted a party. The decorative aprons were often made out of organdy, felt, chiffon, neeting or lace and showed off grandmother’s needleart skills. One of most treasured is a white linen expertly trimmed with an insert of hardanger the width of the apron skirt. Each year, My Best Girl wears the hardanger apron for the Swedish Christmas Eve celebration at Rose Cottage.

Hardanger Apron

Hardanger Apron

true confessions of a creative frugalist!

I LOVE aprons! I wear an apron every day because I am sentimental and practical. My homey aprons give me a sense of connectedness with the women who came before me.  When I wear an apron, life seems less complicated. But I confess, I usually wear an apron because I’m a messy and often spill.  It sure is much easier to launder an apron than an entire outfit! Most of my every day aprons are of the utilitarian type and are indispensable. You know the kind–heavy, durable cotton–usually, not a pretty sight after baking or cooking all day in the kitchen! 

So when spotting the large bolt of vintage green and white woven fabric at Rose Mille on the bottom shelf in the back room, I just had to get some yardage to make some pretty aprons. Rose Mille’s checked fabric is not the kind of gingham most often found in the fabric stores now, rather it is a true “homespun” woven textile and has some weight and density. If you love homespun cottons you just have to get some!)

Green and White Woven Cotton, Vintage Ticking and Trims

Green and White Woven Cotton, Vintage Ticking and Trims

Ribbons might also be added to my dream aprons to add another touch of beauty. Melissa over at The Inspired Room has more ideas about creatively using ribbons to beautify your home in simple ways…Maybe, I will be hanging my new-yet vintage-aprons in the pantry on a pretty hook using ribbons…

How are you bringing beauty into your life and home while being a “creative frugalist?”

The Old Becomes New for the Creative Frugalist

The Old Becomes New for the Creative Frugalist

Now, I am dreaming of several new aprons… Each of the six new aprons will have a different bib front using a Bella Notte linen fabric sample, vintage trim or carefully selvedge crocheted lace edging from a troseau pillow, and vintage bakelite or celluloid buttons. Isn’t this a creative and fun way to be a frugalist in the 21st century? Certainly an interesting way to recycle, repurpose and resuse!

Vintage Red Glass Buckle and Trim

Vintage Red Glass Buckle and Trim

 

Two of the homey aprons will each have a fabulous vintage glass buckle. These glass buckles are just too lovely to pass up from Mi’s stock at Rose Mille! The red buckle is a perfect accent on the red gingham. The blue glass buckle will be used on the second apron. Then, there is the apron with…so tell me,

What would your dream apron look like?

Grandmother's Amazing Apron

Grandmother's Amazing Smock Apron - Cheerfully, helped to make many batches of blue-ribbon caramel rolls!

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Filed under Cooking, Family, Sewing, Uncategorized, Vintage